The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 4

    Burns

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 2

    Groped

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 9

    Groped

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 12

    Falls

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 10

    Rope Burn